Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Kirkus will be publishing this review of I'M GONNA CLIMB A MOUNTAIN IN MY PATENTLEATHER SHOES (Abrams) by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Lynne Avril in their August 1, 2014 issue:

"A little girl takes all her feminine favorites on a camping trip. Peppy Sadie, who has impossibly big red hair, narrates her adventure in bouncy iambic verse. "Today we're going camping," she declares, and lickety-split she starts packing. She'll absolutely need her pink ballet costume, her patent leather shoes and her tiara, for starters. Even though Sadie's decked out in frills, she can still help pitch the pup tent and help with other chores, like gathering huckleberries. Things go a bit amiss when a chipmunk makes off with the purple party bag that Sadie was using to gather the berries, and her white gloves get dirty. But no matter; Sadie's imagination takes over. As she climbs the mountain in those patent leather shoes, she pictures herself capturing Bigfoot with her seven strings of pearls and swimming in the river in her flowered underwear. (She forgot her bathing suit.) That night, with only the campfire to illuminate them, Sadie pretends to protect the family from Bigfoot, played by her brother with a growl and a frown. Singer's story crackles with humor and attitude, its driving rhythms making it an infectious read-aloud. Avril's busy illustrations, using pastel chalk over a pencil outline, display a range of bright colors and have a slightly dreamy cast, as if they came right out of Sadie's head. So can a girl rough it in ruffles? Silly question."

Again, if you'd like to have Marilyn Skype with your students about Sadie's attire, just contact Balkin Buddies.

Monday, July 21, 2014

James Ransome's JOLTIN' JOE DiMAGGIO reviewed in School Library Journal

James Ransome's new book. JOLTIN' JOE DiMAGGIO (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster), written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by James Ransome, received this excellent review in the July 2014 issue of School Library Journal:
If you’re interested in having James come to speak to your students about his art and his books this fall or next spring, don’t hesitate to contact Balkin Buddies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wendell Minor's EDWARD HOPPER PAINTS HIS WORLD reviewed in Booklist

In case you missed it, here's the Booklist review of EDWARD HOPPER PAINTS HIS WORLD (Henry Holt/Macmillan) by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor:

"Full-page paintings reminiscent of Hopper originals accompany the straightforward text of this picture-book biography from the team behind Night Flight (2011). Burleigh introduces the introspective and determined artist in gentle paragraphs detailing Hopper’s life, beginning with his childhood dream to become an artist, through to his last work, Sun in an Empty Room, as well as his struggle for notoriety in the twentieth-century art world and his reasons for painting—“I’m after ME.” Minor’s full-color gouache illustrations depict scenes that might have inspired Hopper for his most iconic paintings—a gas station on an empty road, a lighthouse, a diner, a deserted street—all in Hopper’s distinctive, light-filled style. Other pages are filled with charcoal-gray sketches, as if drawn directly from an artist’s notebook. Cleverly, in each spread where Hopper appears, he is always looking intently at something, which emphasizes how much his art arose from studied observation of the world around him. With a closing author’s note, time line, and further reading, this is a lovely, quiet introduction to a luminary among American painters. Grades 1-4."

 --Sarah Hunter, reviewer, Booklist

Schools interested in having Wendell Minor come to speak about his work may contact Balkin Buddies for further information.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Marilyn Singer's I'M GONNA CLIMB A MOUNTAIN IN MY PATENT LEATHER SHOES reviewed in School Library Journal

I'M GONNA CLIMB A MOUNTAIN IN MY PATENT LEATHER SHOES by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Lynne Avril, and published by Abrams was just reviewed in the July 1, 2014 issue of School Library Journal:

"PreS—The main character of this rhyming picture book, Sadie, combines her love for ultra-feminine fashion and the great outdoors in one big family camping trip: "Today we're going camping./Can't wait til we get there!/I'm thrilled about the things we'll do…/…and what I'm going to wear!" Pastel chalk and pencil outlines keep the visuals soft and delicate, while the text portrays Sadie as empowered and adventurous. She pitches the pup tent in ruffled pants, hunts for Bigfoot in a ballerina skirt, swims in her flowered underwear, and fantasizes about capturing Bigfoot by lassoing him with her seven strings of pearls. Along with the threat of Bigfoot, her little brother is never far out of the picture vacillating between frustration and wonder at his sister's unique and bold take on the camping experience. This enthusiastic take on girl power embraces having it all—with both strength and style.—Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA"

Marilyn’s books are always popular with young students. If you would like Marilyn to speak to your students about her work as a children’s book author, just contact Balkin Buddies. We’ll be happy to help.